Ken Croswell

Ken Croswell has a Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University and is the author of eight books, including The Alchemy of the Heavens: Searching for Meaning in the Milky Way and The Lives of Stars.

All Stories by Ken Croswell

  1. illustration of a neutron star that became a pulsar next to an orbiting star

    The heaviest neutron star on record is 2.35 times the mass of the sun

    The measurement helps refine the dividing line between neutron stars and black holes.

  2. photo of the sun

    Neutrinos hint the sun has more carbon and nitrogen than previously thought

    Scientists still don’t know the sun’s exact chemical composition, which is crucial for understanding the entire universe. Neutrinos will help.

  3. illustration of the 70 Ophiuchi double-star system

    ‘Goldilocks’ stars may pose challenges for any nearby habitable planets

    Orange dwarfs emit far-ultraviolet light long after birth, stressing the atmospheres of potentially life-bearing worlds.

  4. two Magellanic clouds in the night sky over Mayasia

    When the Magellanic Clouds cozy up to each other, stars are born

    The Magellanic Clouds, the two closest star-making galaxies to the Milky Way, owe much of their stellar creativity to each other.

  5. photo of the Milky Way with purple hues in the sky above the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope in China

    Here’s the best timeline yet for the Milky Way’s big events

    A new study puts more precise dates on when the Milky Way formed its thick disk and collided with a neighboring galaxy.

  6. radio image of three rings of gas around the star called V Hydrae

    A new image captures enormous gas rings encircling an aging red star

    The rings, seen for the first time, provide insight into how giant stars lose mass and seed the cosmos with elements.

  7. illustration of a hot Jupiter orbiting a star

    How ‘hot Jupiters’ may get their weirdly tight orbits

    Gravitational kicks from other planets and stars can send giant worlds into orbits that bring them close to their suns.

  8. image of a FU Orionus

    Two stars’ close encounter may explain a cosmic flare that has barely faded

    A brilliant outburst of light that has lasted nearly a century arose when two young stars skirted past each other, simulations suggest.

  9. image of a supernova remnant in the constellation Cassiopeia

    How massive stars in binary systems turn into carbon factories

    A massive star with an orbiting partner star ejects on average twice as much carbon, an element crucial for life, into space compared with a solo star.

  10. illustration of debris from a destroyed rocky planet circling a white dwarf star

    Distant rocky planets may have exotic chemical makeups that don’t resemble Earth’s

    Elements sprinkled on white dwarf stars suggest that the mantles of faraway rocky worlds differ greatly from their counterparts in our solar system.

  11. white dwarf star illustration

    A Jupiter-like planet orbiting a white dwarf hints at our solar system’s future

    A new planet is the first ever discovered that is orbiting a white dwarf and resembles Jupiter in both its mass and its distance from its star.

  12. illustration of a white dwarf star and a red dwarf star in the binary star system AE Aquarii

    The fastest-spinning white dwarf ever seen rotates once every 25 seconds

    A white dwarf star that spins every 25 seconds owes its record-breaking rotation rate to a companion star dumping gas onto it.